I don't know if W will ever read this -- his father doesn't. I haven't read my mother's diaries from when I was a baby, though I know they exist. It somehow seems too invasive. Despite this being a very public record, I feel much this same way about this blog. Internet strangers? Sure, why not. Family? Not so much.
The little fink has just now demolished a pile of folded washing in time-honoured baby fashion - all the major milestones are being hit today, four days shy of six months!
I am now torturing myself with the question of work and what to do about it. My year of parental leave is up on 1 May, but before I left they offered an extra couple of months of compassionate leave to see me through to W's first birthday, knowing that I was really departing because of Dad. I expect I will take up the offer to stay at home until July, as I find it difficult to imagine being apart from him while he is still technically a baby.
Actually, I'm torn on whether to go back to work at all. On the plus side, my experience of being a stay at home Mum thus far is that it can be lonely and repetitive. Not always, but when it is like that it is tough. I like my colleagues at the office, I very much like aspects of my work, I like being challenged intellectually as a lawyer. Yep, and I won't deny the funds would be handy as well. Particularly so should we decide to go ahead with the major renovation our home needs to comfortably house us once W is past the quite small stage. If I stay in my job at least another six months once I've returned, I'm owed a further lump sum parental pay out as part of my contract, which would be nice.
On the drawbacks side, our family life will be more difficult should I return to work. I expect I'll be the 'default parent' doing the daycare pickups, running kid schedules etc because P is working towards partnership within the next 18 months, which requires a lot of work. It's not that I mind being the default parent, it's that my job will always also be a little demanding. There are aspects of my job I don't love - stress, business development, discovery, tedious scheduling, court deadlines, admin and time recording (fuck me, time recording! Haaaaaaaate.). If I don't go back or stay for a further six months we need to pay back the lump sum parental leave payment I received pursuant to my contract, which would suck.
There's also the hard to quantify elements. I love being with the Fink and being his No. 1 caregiver. I assume I'll still feel this way in six months' time, but there's no guarantees (I expect caring for a toddler is a different kettle of fish from caring for a baby). I have also considered whether there might be another role for me elsewhere, better suited to my temperament and strengths and more family friendly. Most of the answers I have come up with require a move to Wellington and the centre of government, which isn't possible for our family, but it bears further thought.
I do know I don't want to go back full time, or even four days a week, just yet. Three days seems about right. I'm not sure how well I can do my job in three days a week, frankly. Does that mean I'll effectively end up working on my days with W or the weekend? Quite possibly. That's not very attractive at all.
Why all these mental gymnastics when there are still a few months to go? Well, I expect my boss will want to know at some point and I'll need to introduce the idea of part time work. Plus, I probably need to get W on a daycare waitlist of some sort as well. Ah well, I'll keep considering.